Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wonderful Article in Priest Magazine

This article is a real surprise in every way: it gets the big picture and the implementation of sacred music. It is fantastic to see something like this in a large circulation mainstream publication. It is by Brian MacMichael & Michael Roesch.

Also worth noting is the increased interest in singing the propers of the Mass — the Introit, Offertory, and Communion chants that are almost universally supplanted by hymns. These proper texts are actually the preferred option in the GIRM, but resources for their singing in English have only been rolling out in the past few years. Their use is beginning to gain traction, often in addition to the hymns Catholics have come to love.

All of these preferences for singing amount to what those closest to the translation have called “singing the Mass” rather than merely “singing at Mass.” The liturgical ideal has always been a sung Mass, and too often in the English-speaking world we have maintained a “Low Mass” mentality from pre-Vatican II days. Singing the prayers of the Mass in a simple tone, or at least on a single pitch, is doable for any priest with a little practice, does not add a significant amount of time to the liturgy, and can greatly enrich our worship. Imagine if, instead of reserving sung dialogues and prefaces for high feast days, singing them was the norm for all Sunday Masses. The Gospel and Eucharistic Prayer could then be chanted when we wished to express added solemnity.